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Words from the Head of School to our Middle School students at this year's Journey Ceremony
Words from the Head of School to our Middle School students at this year's Journey Ceremony

Read our Head of School's words to the Middle Schoolers from this year's Journey (moving up) Ceremony.

Faculty, Staff, Board of Trustees, Family Members, Friends, Alumni, Students, and Graduates: I want to welcome everyone to Middle School Journey 2017.

When the word journey is used as a verb, what does it mean? "To journey" to me is to be focused on the road ahead, to make tough decisions along the way, and to embrace change as it comes. Since each of you students began your time at Stevens, we, the faculty and staff have watched you build new bridges and cross diverse terrains. Your experiences, understandings, values and self-perceptions, although guided by faculty and staff, family and friends, are yours to own and to continue to develop as part of your character and the core of your identity.

It is with confidence that I tell you that we have on our hands a middle school filled with spirit, talent, and outstanding potential. I believe in every one of you students to do great things in your future but before you get there, our job is to listen to you, to support you, to guide you, to prepare you for the next step in your journey. Whether it means heading into 6th grade next year or moving on to high school, you are ready to take new risks, to be challenged in new ways, and I am certain that you will do it all with a growth mindset; Carol Dweck's theory that with effort and perseverance, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.

And how do I know? Well, let me explain. But let me do so, as I did at graduation this past Saturday, in unique poetic rhyming form:

I have seen our students create and question,
Rigorous thinking is our tradition,
Most were here to build permanent city,
And you just finished your exhibitions.

I look at the skills and talents I see,
from math league to art on the wall,
Cara, Rhiannon, Shehla and Josh,
Your leadership is on the ball.

Each day students arrive, with sincere intent,
To bring their full self into school,
Each one of you has a unique identity,
With compassion as your tool.

You've conquered Egypt, Middle ages,
World religions or American history,
Over 150 middle school minds at work,
That's the beauty we get to see.

Our students communicate very well,
In different World languages and tech,
From our office staff to admissions department,
Our school is all hands on deck.

When I walk around Stevens, I see scholars and athletes,
Scientists or musicians abound,
What I truly enjoy is the spark created
When that passion a student has found.

At a college graduation in 2003,
American film director Jerry Zucker, read,
"It doesn't matter that your dream came true if you spent your whole life sleeping."
he said.

To me that means, BE present,
be on the ready to take a new risk,
That's what schools about and we're here to guide you,
Whether it's a bullseye or a miss.

When you are faced with a hard decision,
You need to use your gut,
that feeling that your stomach gets,
When you just know that something's up.

Be self-aware. The most important skill
Researchers say you need,
A predictor of success and growth,
You have the extraordinary chance to lead.

That means knowing — and accepting —
that you have strengths, and areas where you'll need to grow,
And if you embrace those then Dr. Seuss was right,
"Oh the places that you will go."

Now you know why you've been writing
self-evaluations since 3rd grade.
To determine the areas where you excel
And mistakes you may have made.

We are a work in progress, all of us,
And this journey we take as a team,
Whether its academics or otherwise look out for one another,
And you'll never run out of steam.

Be a listener, kind and thoughtful this summer,
Treat your friends well, know when to bend,
Remember my favorite Beatles line,
"We get by with a little help from our friends."

Those friends include the teachers,
They are a staff who truly care,
Their commitment is quite amazing,
And their passion is quite rare.

And to everyone in the audience, behold
this group of accomplished graduates we see.
I can't wait to hear about how they "float like a butterfly
and then go and sting like a bee."

To the middle school students, our faculty is here
to be your coaches, support, and guide,
Embrace the challenges, and surf the wave
It's more fun if you enjoy the ride.

And as you head off into the joy of summer,
Lend a helping hand, heart or ear,
Congratulations to our middle school students
on a fantastic school year.

Thank you.